U.K. trade body the BPI has submitted its response to the government’s consultation ahead of the publication of the “Digital Britain” report in early summer.
The BPI agrees with the interim report proposal on a code of practise that would require ISPs to take action against customers who ignore warnings about illegal file-sharing. But it adds that it is “not necessary” to create a digital rights agency, as proposed in the interim report, with representatives from the music industry and ISPs to ensure measures are properly enforced and overall aims are achieved.
Instead, the BPI favors a forum of interested parties, facilitated either by government or by media and telecoms regulator Ofcom. Although the proposed rights agency would have several functions, the BPI “is doubtful that a wholly new body is required, or desirable, to fulfil these functions,” adding that it “strongly opposes” the idea that there could be a role for a new body in setting prices for rights.
In its submission, the BPI the has urged the British government to follow the example of the French National Assembly – which passed a key element of its “Creation and Internet Law” on April 3, which obliges ISPs to cut off copyright infringers after two warnings – and strengthen its planned legislation on ISP responsibility for illegal file-sharing.
“The French government has acted with admirable speed in bringing forward a solution to online copyright infringement,” said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor in a statement. “Its legislation will establish clear rules to discourage freeloading and allow legal services to succeed. Although the U.K. approach may differ in detail, Britain’s creators need concrete action here to get off the ground. The French system will be up and running by autumn, so ministers need to move swiftly if the U.K. is not to be left behind.”
The BPI has urged government ministers to live up to their aim of making Britain “the world’s favored destination for creative companies to grow and invest.”
Taylor added: “The focus now should be on taking the steps that are necessary to give effect to the proposed new legislation. That is what will have the greatest impact in reducing unlawful file-sharing; not the complexity of creating a new organization. Ministers should publish the draft legislation without delay so that work on the code of practice can begin, to ensure that it is ready for when legislation comes into force.”